How social media helped a little lunch box hit the big time.

Ellyn Davidson 09/05/12 - 2:03 pm

When I first heard about EasyLunchboxes from a pushy very enthusiastic friend, there was only way to buy the bento-style trays and cooler bags. You had to go to the website and pay at least $9 in shipping. But so passionate was my friend’s endorsement that I clicked the “buy” button anyway.

Now, I’m the EasyLunchbox zealot. Most days in my household, we pack three to five lunches. The EL divided trays with a single, easy-to-open top make that chore much easier and greener than it was when we used individual containers and plastic baggies.

But I’m not writing this to tell you to buy EasyLunchboxes (although seriously, you totally should). I’m writing to talk about the company’s winning social media strategies. Great product though it is, I think it’s CEO Kelly Lester’s social media that has turned the EasyLunchbox into a cult favorite. Here are some examples:

The Singing CEO

Lester, who bills herself on the EL website as “mom and CEO” has a theatrical flair and a fabulous voice. So, she put it out there to publicize her product, creating two faux shows on her YouTube channel. On Lunch Date, Lester chats with a friend about food ideas. The more high-concept and hilarious Let’s Do Lunch is a 1950s-style talk show hosted by Lester in a vintage June Cleaver frock. She sings a lunch-inspired duet with her celebrity guest (Barry Williams from The Brady Bunch!) and a bunch of sparkly back-up singers—while packing EasyLunchboxes, of course. Let’s Do Lunch is completely charming, managing to be both parody and an effective product spot at the same time.

Amping up her Amazon Status

Soon after I bought my EasyLunchboxes on the EL website, they became available on Amazon with free or lower shipping. But Lester didn’t stop there. Out of the thousands of small business owners on Amazon, she got a write-up on the site.

Cute Contests

The EasyLunchbox Facebook page is already a good read, with plenty of items about parenting and food in addition to EL news. The page is also regular host to contests challenging followers to come up with adorable lunch ideas. This is a sure lure for crafty types and a great way to both gain followers and show your product at its prettiest.

Always Networking

In a smart act of mutual backscratching, Lester’s website features big, colorful links to bloggers who’ve showcased EasyLunchboxes. She’s also got links to a bevy of other outlets that publicize her product. In fact, the EasyLunchbox Pinterest page is to blame, Lester wrote recently in her blog, for the fact that the lunchboxes are currently sold out. (Oh, and that blog, by the way? It’s a great read, adding to EL’s social media caché.)

Expanding the Empire

Lester is making the most of the new EL buzz by producing a bit of old-school social media: a book called Cooking With Trader Joe’s Cookbook—Easy Lunch Boxes. It comes out in September. Hitching a ride on internet favorite Trader Joe’s is a great way to sell both the book itself and Lester’s original product.

Lester is ready to make the most out of every new social media outlet the instant it makes its appearance. Then she approaches it with creativity, a knack for networking, and boundless energy. EasyLunchboxes’ growing online empire is a great example of what you need to succeed in social media. What do you think? Are you an EasyLunchbox fan? What other small companies have you seen exploding online?

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